Schools Betrayed: Roots of Failure in Inner-City Education

By Kathryn M. Neckerman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE

Vocational Education

In the early years of the twentieth century, Chicago's public schools took on a new function: they began explicitly to prepare students for the labor market. The school system's new vocational curricula blended academic education with commercial and technical training, and were particularly attractive for students from modest backgrounds, as so many black and immigrant students were. For educators, these curricula offered a way to retain and motivate students. In this chapter, we follow the Chicago Public Schools as it constructed—and reconstructed—its system of vocational education, and show how the consequences differed for black and immigrant youth.


The Rise of Vocational Education

At the turn of the century, the city's public schools did very little to train students for jobs. The local high schools offered a handful of vocational classes such as surveying and bookkeeping, but their curriculum was largely classical, with an emphasis on Latin, Greek, and the humanities. For their part, employers paid little attention to school credentials. For skilled or professional positions, training took place largely through formal or informal apprenticeship. During the late nineteenth century, the Chicago Board of Education took a few steps to develop a more practical kind of education. Beginning in 1886, it opened a repair shop to boys

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Schools Betrayed: Roots of Failure in Inner-City Education
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter One - Urban Decline 11
  • Chapter Two - Labor Markets 32
  • Chapter Three - Communities and Cultures 60
  • Chapter Four - Racial Segregation and Inequality 81
  • Chapter Five - Vocational Education 107
  • Chapter Six - Remedial Education 127
  • Chapter Seven - Classroom Dynamics 152
  • Conclusion 172
  • Appendix A - Quantitative Evidence 185
  • Appendix B - Some Historical Evidence About Language Styles and Schooling 193
  • Notes 197
  • Selected Bibliography 243
  • Index 253
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